Sordo and Raikkonen brave the Welsh storm Dani Sordo and Diego Vallejo occupy fifth place overall at the end of day one on the Rally Great Britain, having formed part of the leading group from the very beginning of the event. In the second...
Sordo and Raikkonen brave the Welsh storm
Dani Sordo and Diego Vallejo occupy fifth place overall at the end of day one on the Rally Great Britain, having formed part of the leading group from the very beginning of the event. In the second Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC, Kimi Raikkonen and Kaj Lindstrom end the day 10th after a sensible rally so far.
The Rally Great Britain got underway in the midst of an autumn storm, named `Carmen' by meteorologists. Heavy rain and winds of up to 100kph, which forced the local authorities to take exceptional measures, accompanied the crews as they started the rally yesterday night.
As the rain fell, Dani Sordo and Kimi Raikkonen put on a great show at the Cardiff spectator superspecial, which took place on Thursday evening in front of huge crowds. The Spaniard set the third- fastest time behind Loeb and Ogier while the Finn was sixth overall on the short asphalt test in Cardiff Bay.
The Citroen C4 WRCs left parc ferme this morning at 0600. The crews were heading towards Llanidloes, in the centre of Wales, for two runs over the loop of three stages that made up the day's competitive action.
At the end of the 32-kilometre Hafren stage in the morning, Dani summed up the dreadful conditions that he had just encountered. "It's very difficult to read the road," he reported. "The grip is changing hugely from one corner to the next. You can find one corner with a lot of grip, followed by an extremely slippery section where you have to be a lot more careful."
Kimi Raikkonen was also struck by the constantly changing levels of grip. "I actually thought that the roads would be a lot more muddy," he said. "But they're certainly very slippery."
At the end of the first loop of gravel stages, Dani Sordo was fifth overall while Kimi Raikkonen was 10th. In Hafren 2, Dani Sordo had a high-speed spin. The Spaniard managed to get going again with a puncture and finished SS5 with a 27.6-second time loss. By the end of day one, he was fifth overall: 48.9 seconds behind the leader. "I felt a bit more comfortable this afternoon," he said. "We drove well with what was an extremely competitive car. I'm feeling confident for tomorrow. I'm going to try and set some good times in order to make progress up the leaderboard."
Kimi Raikkonen showed more and more performance as the rally went on and consolidated his position in the top 10. "It was very difficult to judge the amount of grip," he said. "Some places, for example, looked slippery but in fact offered quite a lot of grip. I'm still lacking a lot of experience in these conditions. My driving is improving bit by bit. We're heading in the right direction..."
Team manager Benoît Nogier concluded: "Our opening day has fitted in perfectly with the objective of ensuring that our two Citroen C4 WRCs finish in the points, so that the Citroen Junior Team can claim third place in the World Championship rankings. Dani was able to put in some very significant performances throughout the day. It's a shame that he lost time with a spin. His new goal now is to come back at Hirvonen and stay in front of Latvala. Kimi Raikkonen has not made a single mistake throughout the rally so far and he has set some interesting split times. It's all very promising for the rest of the event."